Olkaria Phase 3 to start soon

January 9, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – Phase three of the Olkaria geothermal project is set to begin soon after the firm contracted to implement the development obtained Sh8.1 billion for the project.

Refinancing for the 48-megawatt Olkaria III geothermal power plant in Naivasha will be undertaken by an Israeli owned company – Ormat Technologies unit.

“The 10-year project finance loan will be provided by a group of European Development finance institutions arranged by Deutsche Investitions. In addition to the German DEG, other lenders include Societe de Promotion et de Participation pour la Cooperation Economique and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund Limited,” a brief statement from the company said on Friday.

Ormat financed the Sh11.6 billion construction of Olkaria I and II, as well as the drilling of wells, from its own internal sources.

Phase II, completed last month, added 35 MW to the project, bringing it to the target capacity of 48 MW.

The electricity generated would be sold to the Kenya Power & Light Company (KPLC) under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Olkaria II, which is still the largest geothermal plant in Africa, was brought on stream in 2000 with 20 geothermal wells feeding a capacity of 70MW.

Olkaria East and Olkaria II are owned and operated by the state-owned power generating company, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen).

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which has its headquarters in Nairobi, has said that the geothermal potential of the Rift Valley region is 14,000MW, yet only 200MW is currently captured.

Kenya is Africa’s geothermal pioneer with the Olkaria station already producing 158MW. The government plans to raise its geothermal capacity to 576MW within a decade.

Ormat Technologies is a company primarily engaged in the geothermal and recovered energy power business.

The Company designs, develops, owns and operates geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants around the world.

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